One day Robert Tucker, or “Bob” as he likes to be called, was waiting for his ride home from the Manchester VA Medical Center after his appointment and I had the pleasure of meeting him. It started with a smile and I asked, “how are you?” Bob extended his hand to hold mine, and said, “I am much better now.”
Bob asked me what I did and when I told him he said, “Have I got something to tell you!”
Bob and I sat and talked in the lobby and he said, “I just want everyone to know they really watch and take good care of people here. This place is tremendous, and I think it should be a full-service hospital again.” He said he would really like to be sure our providers knew how much he appreciated them — I knew I could be of assistance.
Just two days later, Bob came back for a regular visit to oncology. I came down to his appointment and brought along the medical center leadership team. We connected immediately with Bob who took a moment with leadership to share how very important it was for him to recognize the staff for their care and kindness. Bob was getting ready for his appointment, so we took a few pictures and I checked to see he was all set. Bob said, “I am all set, Marilyn will take care of me, and Chuck, he will make sure it is convenient for me!” Bob went on to say, “I don’t think people appreciate what he [Chuck] does; I do.”
Bob invited me to join him during his appointment so I did. While Chuck pushed his wheelchair, Bob went on to talk about his care and providers. When Bob went through the doors, he was greeted with smiles and hugs along the hall way. He sat down with Marilyn and Colleen who began his work up and researched his most recent labs which had been taken earlier in the morning. Bob was all smiles, “I like honest, I am 84 years old. [Marilyn] tells me what to do and I do it. She has been like family to me.”
Bob has been coming to the Manchester VA Medical Center since 1999. He worked with many staff over the years.
“Dr. Hallinan, he is a good man. I went to the outside for years,” Bob said. “They gave me diabetic shoes and my toes were always sore. Within four days of seeing Dr. Hallinan, he had me in new shoes and pain free.” Bob went on to share he had received a custom lift which was installed in his home to improve his mobility. “There was a need, and they met it immediately. I appreciate these people.”
During an earlier appointment with Marilyn in oncology, she observed a marking on Bob’s face. “Marilyn even noticed a small change on my face; she got me to dermatology. Dr. Kuang, she is very good, I met with her, she took her time and met all my needs. I felt better.”
“The important thing is this, when you come in sometimes it [treatment] is painful. Marilyn is there for me, and it is more painful for her than it is for me. Everyone at the medical center has been here for me like this; they care. I cannot thank each member of this team enough.”
Bob asked that we specifically thank his chemo infusion team which includes: Dr. Goran Broketa and many others: Marilyn, Lisa, Kim, Colleen and Chuck as well as Talena, Jen, Carol, and Cassia. Of course, there are also Lynda and Shauna. “They are my family and I appreciate each one of them and all they have done for me.”
Marilyn wouldn’t have it any other way. “I treat every Veteran as if they were part of my family, and they are,” she said.
Bob also wanted to thank others that make his care possible, including the Disabled American Veterans at Manchester VA. “Without them, I wouldn’t get to the care. Chris, he is just perfect for that job.”